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The increased use of broadband as a connection method amongst UK internet users will provide a boost for employers wishing to take advantage of the internet as a recruitment tool. OfCom figures show that broadband now accounts for approximately one third of all domestic internet connections. The figures also show that 7.5% of the UK population have access to broadband. This compares to 15.8% in Holland and 6.1% in Spain (the top and bottom ranked countries on which data is available) and places the UK as a mid-ranking European country in terms of broadband access.
The increased use of broadband has been fuelled by a reduction in subscription costs from an average of £45 a month in 2000 to £22 a month in 2004. It is likely that these costs will continue to fall and that broadband will become the most commonly used connection method within the next five years.
The ability of employers to use the internet as a recruitment tool is boosted by broadband because the high connection speeds it offers enable employers to communicate more effectively with candidates online. Higher connection speeds allow users to download data more quickly – for example a file that takes a minute to download using a standard 56K dial up connection can take just seconds to download using a broadband connection.
This means that employers will be able to include more sophisticated interactive features on corporate careers sites. For example features such as employee video profiles, virtual office tours, business sector presentations and online aptitude tests that are currently considered as advanced, and often consigned to the graduate area of site, will be viewed as standard in the future. This will be of particular benefit to organisations that need to explain detailed organisational concepts and to those that wish to use the internet to recruit senior candidates. Candidates will be able to use broadband to download presentations, watch video profiles of prospective colleagues and generally learn more about their potential employers so that they are better informed at interview stage – benefiting both the candidate and the employer.
The challenge that faces employers is how best to use the new opportunities that broadband offers to truly add value to the recruitment process and not to fall into the trap of including attractive interactive features just because they are available. All new features should be judged against the criteria of whether or not they add value to the recruitment process – for example in streamlining the flow of information between candidate and employer, enhancing candidate education and enabling self selection through the provision of information.
Broadband offers internet users faster connection speeds and this leads to more satisfying and interactive online experiences. Employers will also benefit from the advantages that broadband offers by using the internet to communicate more effectively with candidates through the use of more advanced, though carefully selected, interactive online features.